Americans United Youth Activist Awardees
Each year, Americans United for Separation of Church and State recognizes young people who have advocated for religious freedom and church-state separation in their community.
2018 David Norr Youth Activist Awardee
Kaylee Cole, a senior at Lakeside Jr./Sr. High School in Webster Parish, La., was tired of being made to feel like she didn’t belong in her public school that encouraged the widespread promotion of Christianity to students. In late 2017, Kaylee and her family, with help from the ACLU, sued the school district – and won. Webster Parish School District in May 2018 agreed to stop promoting prayers during school events, organizing religious services for students, unnecessarily holding school events at religious venues and allowing school officials to promote their personal religious beliefs to students.
For Kaylee’s courage and commitment to defending church-state separation as the linchpin that protects religious freedom for all, Americans United was proud to present her with our 2018 David Norr Youth Activist Award.
Read more about Kaylee’s story here.
2017 Anne Hutchinson Religious Freedom Awardee
In response to President Donald Trump's Muslim ban, Najja Walker-X of Lower Merion, Pa., in 2017 organized his high school basketball team to send a message of solidarity. The players wore matching T-shirts that read, "I am a Muslim. I am a refugee. I am an immigrant. I am an American. I am an Ace." Najja also donated all of the money raised by the T-shirt sales.
Americans United was pleased to recognize Najja for his activism in 2017.
Read more about Najja’s story here.
2017 David Norr Youth Activist Awardee
Amanda Scott of Alabama, now a student at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., was motivated to become a church-state separation advocate as a teenager when she read about AU’s involvement in an Alabama county’s attempt to allow people convicted of crimes to forgo punishment if they attended a Christian church. In 2014, at the age of 20, she fought the display of an “In God We Trust” sign at a Mobile County government building. Soon after, Amanda joined Americans United’s Youth Advisory Council and has been offering advice on how AU can reach and engage more young people in church-state separation.
For Amanda’s service protecting religious freedom for believers and nonbelievers alike, Americans United was proud to present her with our 2017 David Norr Youth Activist Award.
Read more about Amanda here.